Work on a major Wirral housing scheme has begun, despite a fire ripping through part of the site last year.

In March 2020, just before the first national lockdown started, a large blaze damaged 20% of Ravenswood House, a Grade II listed building which formed part of the former Rock Ferry High School site.

But just over a year later affordable housing developer Torus has officially started work on a £30m scheme which will see 186 homes built on the site.

The fire damage has been fully assessed and costs for dealing with it have been factored in to the works.

The project, which is due to be completed in 2023, will see 84 new homes built alongside a 102 apartment extra care scheme.

Of the 84 homes, 19 will be available for shared ownership with 65 available at an affordable rent.

The extra care apartments will be designed to meet the needs of those aged over 55 and will encourage residents to be independent for as long as possible, but with the assurance that onsite care is available when needed.

Torus said all of the apartments will be available at an affordable rent and the scheme will form a community where older people can enjoy sociable, fulfilling and healthy lives.

The developer is working with construction firm Anwyl Partnerships on the project, which includes the refurbishment of Ravenswood House, making it the centrepiece to the scheme.

Torus’ director of developments Steve Alcock said: “Rock Ferry is a clear reflection of our focus on the future and protection of and respect for the past.

“Through repurposing Ravenswood House, building homes specifically for older people and those with extra care needs, as well as ensuring all properties are available via affordable means, Rock Ferry will meet the needs of the local community and safeguard a listed building for the future.”

Torus said one of its key aims is to preserve, restore and redevelop local landmarks and its work at Ravenswood House is the latest contribution towards delivering on this aim.

This project will add to the group’s portfolio which currently includes the award-winning Ogden’s Tobacco Factory in Everton and South Liverpool’s Allerton Fire and Police Station, where works have now started on the construction of 47 homes.

Tom Anwyl, managing director at Anwyl Partnerships, said: “We’re incredibly pleased to begin work on this important scheme that marks a major development within the wider regeneration of Rock Ferry.

“We have forged a strong partnership with Torus and have a shared understanding of the importance of creating quality homes and enhancing local communities.

“Work is now well underway and we will be working with all stakeholders to ensure the programme is delivered in line with all agreed objectives.”